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Outfits to die for

Gabriele Annan, 10 February 1994

A Woman’s View: How Hollywood Spoke to Women 1930-60 
by Jeanine Basinger.
Chatto, 528 pp., £14.99, January 1994, 0 7011 6093 4
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... work – ‘post’ even the new-wave feminism-with-a-smile of writers like Naomi Wolf. Jeanine Basinger seems out not so much to deconstruct Hollywood as to defuse the horror myth of its patriarchal Weltanschauung. The patriarchalism is there all right, but riddled with subversion. Her attitude is most clearly seen when she deals with Shirley ...

Toots, they owned you

John Lahr: My Hollywood Fling, 15 June 2023

Hollywood: The Oral History 
edited by Jeanine Basinger and Sam Wasson.
Faber, 739 pp., £25, November 2022, 978 0 571 36694 1
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... three thousand cherry-picked transcripts, largely from the American Film Institute, the editors Jeanine Basinger and Sam Wasson have rearranged and zhuzhed up snippets of loose talk to tell the industry’s story – ostensibly in the words of people who helped to make it. Identified at the opening only by their job descriptions, the speakers float in ...

Look beyond the lips

Bee Wilson: Hedy Lamarr, 28 July 2011

Hedy Lamarr: The Most Beautiful Woman in Film 
by Ruth Barton.
Kentucky, 281 pp., £25.95, May 2011, 978 0 8131 2604 3
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... was based on an image, and how that life became increasingly fictionalised’. The film historian Jeanine Basinger divided the classic Hollywood female stars into three types: ‘fantasies’, who appealed primarily to men; ‘real women’, to whom women in the audience could relate; and ‘exaggerated women’ in the Bette Davis mould. Barton suggests ...

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